• Alaska Elementary School Counseling: Current Practices And Future Directions

      McMorrow, Samantha Gale; Morotti, Allan (2010)
      Professional school counseling has roots as far back as the nineteenth century in the United States. Along the way there have been many changes in title and duties for the school counselor, who by recommendation of the American School Counseling Association as well as the state of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, acts as the professional leading the comprehensive counseling program. Elementary comprehensive counseling programs are designed to be developmental in nature and preventative in practice. Additionally, they are intended to make the counseling program available to all students, not just those who are high achieving or at risk within the school community. However, there is a great deal of variance in how programs operate in Alaska. This research used mail surveys to gather data from potentially all elementary school counselors in the state of Alaska. Data were then considered in regards to the suggested comprehensive counseling program to evaluate and produce informed recommendations. One of the specific challenges that Alaskan elementary school counselors face is that of larger than recommended student-to-counselor ratios. Additionally, many counselors are operating in more than one school. Counselors working in the field suggest that curriculum is a much needed resource as well as recommendations that a counseling coordinator be employed to assist in bringing a more uniformed structure to counseling programs in the state of Alaska. School counseling, as well as education in general, has undergone many changes over the last century. Counseling programs in Alaska will need to continue to change and adapt if they are to meet the needs of students and communities.